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Doctor Tells Fellow Physicians: No Coercive Ultrasounds – It’s Rape

Doctor Tells Fellow Physicians: No Coercive Ultrasounds – It’s Rape

A physician has (anonymously) spoken out about recent state bills which would require women to submit to invasive transvaginal ultrasounds before being allowed to terminate a pregnancy. Similar bills have been proposed in Pennsylvania, Idaho and Virginia. The Idaho bill has passed the senate vote, although five Republican and seven Democrat senators opposed it, and is expected to pass at the House committee vote as well.

The unnamed physician wrote a sort of manifesto on medical ethics, calling on her or his fellow medical doctors to recall their medical oaths, and refuse to be political tools. It was published on science fiction author John Scalzi’s popular blog, Whatever, who vouches for the qualifications of the writer without revealing identifying information. The opening paragraphs take a similar position to that previously adopted by Doonesbury writer, Gary Trudeau:

I do not feel that it is reactionary or even inaccurate to describe an unwanted, non-indicated transvaginal ultrasound as ďrapeĒ. If I insert ANY object into ANY orifice without informed consent, it is rape. And coercion of any kind negates consent, informed or otherwise.

And

After all, itís our hands that will supposedly be used to insert medical equipment (tools of HEALING, for the sake of all that is good and holy) into the vaginas of coerced women.

The writer goes on to suggest an organized protest against the legislation by the doctors expected to implement it:

It is our responsibility, as always, to protect our patients from things that would harm them. Therefore, as physicians, it is our duty to refuse to perform a medical procedure that is not medically indicated. Any medical procedure. Whatever the pseudo-justification.

Itís time for a little old-fashioned civil disobedience.

In practical terms, the writer advocates simply not performing the procedure, unless requested by the patient. The patient should then receive her proper medical care (up to and including the abortion procedure itself), and any necessary submitted documents should simply state that the ultrasound was a) refused, b) not deemed medically necessary.

These bills have been controversial from day one as women’s advocates have labeled them as an attempt to shame and emotionally blackmail women seeking abortions. Some legislators have removed references to specifically transvaginal ultrasounds in responseto public pressure, but it’s been pointed out that any successful ultrasound of a pregnancy in its first trimester would have to be the invasive kind of procedure anyway.

Even as I’ve been writing this, the original post on Whatever has been updated to effectively say that this message is going viral. It may well be that by that by this time tomorrow, a majority of practicing physicians in the United States will have heard about or read this call to action. It remains to be seen how many will respond to the call. We’ll keep you posted.

Related stories:

Update: Idaho Passes Forced Ultrasound Bill Despite Opposition

47 Newspapers Are Censoring This Week’s Doonesbury

“Discomfort” is the Point of Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill, Sponsor Said

Read more: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo credit: Wesley Carter, USAF

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232 comments

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1:28PM PST on Nov 5, 2013

Thanks!

6:23AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

first of all stop the nurse ratchet business most of us nurses in psychhospitals work hard to get patients proper care we are physically and often mentally abuseed with the use of this phrase because some people do not want to follow simple rules to protect themselves and others. second Yes this is rape and drs shoud remember the hippocratic oath. I feel that every time a women is subjected to theis a male lawmaker should have to have a prostrate examine.. Boy would they holler.

12:51PM PDT on Apr 15, 2012

thanks :)

9:26AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

I still can't believe there are even women FOR this, let alone that it's even happening!!

11:26AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Well, Steven, Jesus never mentioned contraception/abortion that we know of and, if we are to believe him and follow the laws G-d gave us before he came (IE: the Tanach/Old Testament) then, not only are women not mandated to bear children, they are told to abort a fetus if the continued pregnancy can -in any way- deprive them or the children they already have, of what they need for their health and welfare.
As stated in the Torah, and repeated and explained in both the Talmud and the writs of the first Christians, "above all, choose life" includes choosing to protect the life of the ones who are currently actually living above that of the potential life of the fetus.
It is even so clear that the laws (both Judeo-Christian and Roman) considered the fetus as only a potential life devoid of independent rights, that they forbade to leave inheritance to a fetus above even a distant relative.

11:25AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Bodily invasion and physical trespass are wrong. No-one should be forced to receive an ultrasound or a vaccination against their will.

11:09AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

what do bible quotes have to do with health care. so only christian women have to get ultrasounds?

9:40AM PDT on Apr 4, 2012

Thank you anonymous doctor - it is sad that he has to be anonymous when discussing truth based on fact and not emotion for fear of being lynched!

6:45AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Check with Nurse Ratched, Billy.

11:45PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

Anyone have a flea swatter I could borrow?

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